DevOps in 2021: The Year of Human-centred Technology
In this article, Brian Dawson, DevOps Evangelist and Senior Senior Product Marketing Director, Cloudbees discusses a new way of working and collaborating. Full adoption of DevOps practices will include increased resilience of IT systems, a high focus on the importance of ethics in technology and real alignment between Dev, Ops and beyond.
The pursuit of DevOps (culture, practices and outcomes) across organisations small to large has continued as strong as ever last year and there’s no sign of it stopping. DevOps and continuous delivery provide for critical capability and organisations across the world continue to change and adapt their systems to serve the future workplace from remote locations. As more organisations adapt their ways of working to thrive in the face of disruption and change, 2021 will be the year many finally recognise their DevOps goals. Fodevcus on the use of automation, remote collaboration and shared visibility will make for a more efficient and effective workforce. Along with focus in those areas, full adoption of DevOps practices will include increased resilience of IT systems, a high focus on the importance of ethics in technology and real alignment between Dev, Ops and beyond.
Embracing a New Way of Working, Collaborating and Measuring Outcomes
DevOps is key to organisations urgently seeking digital transformation to ensure the accomplishment of business goals and assist their teams with working remotely. Having visibility into the software delivery process, monitoring progress and measuring business results is already becoming more and more important. The game-changer, however, will be finding and choosing tools that organisations can trust and truly rely on, so that the monitoring and the measuring part can be done remotely and will not depend on individuals being confined to certain places, such as offices, or to rigid working patterns.
Companies that are on the path to digital transformation will look to improve their value stream management and their ROI-measuring methods. Delivering, measuring and increasing value through practices such as progressive delivery will be the primary area of focus for many IT professionals this year. There will also be a greater emphasis on finding methods to more accurately measure outcomes from DevOps initiatives. Organisations will be focusing more on the criteria around business performance indicators and on properly measuring results and the return on investment.
The human element of technology
More conversations surrounding DevOps and general software delivery management will be centered on the evidence that both the workforce involved in DevOps and their culture are a true differentiator in high-performing organisations. There’s a real push around data and insights to help accelerate software delivery while improving the efficiency of teams and, this year, the concept of DevOps will be invigorated. More companies will learn that DevOps is not just about tools, automation and orchestration, but very much about people, interactions and efficient collaboration.
There’s a human side to DevOps, based on engagement, communication and a collective effort to remove bottlenecks and deliver results as efficiently as possible. There will therefore be a continued increase in focus on the user experience as a key differentiating factor for software-driven products. Since nearly all software is created by humans for human use, successful IT teams and companies will consider the human element of DevOps at every stage, from those who are building the software, to teams using the software and through to those impacted by the software.
Ethics, a new focal point in DevOps
As DevOps practices mature, the importance of ethics naturally comes to the fore and the central focus on the ethics of technology will ramp up. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will finally get the diversity and inclusion treatment it deserves. In 2021, as the inherent and unintentional biases of the largely homogenous creators of ML and AI solutions slip in algorithms, testing methodologies, training data sets and into the final product, the output from them will be more closely examined.
The emphatic call to level the playing field over the last year has set the table to solve this problem, with previous 2020 events such as mass unemployment, racial conflict and working class disenfranchisement continuing to increase the general awareness of social inequities. This awareness will infiltrate into technologies that we use, including DevOps. After all, in many ways software is easier to examine for bias than the human mind.
Dev really connecting with Ops
DevOps was primarily created to provide an agile lifecycle between operators, developers and now tech leaders will truly realise the potential of DevOps by establishing comprehensive end-to-end automation that’s built on continuous delivery practices. The smaller, forward-looking organisations are already there and the larger, more complex enterprises will begin to unify automation across functional silos and varied tech stacks, in the attempt to better align Dev and Ops. This year, there will be fewer instances of companies having development-based DevOps tools and practices and ops-based DevOps tools and practices that are used, purchased and defined independent of each other. Dev + Ops is not just a term, a set of tools or a culture. It is a truly facilitating alignment, shared ownership and coordination between Dev, Ops and others around shared goals.
As organisations embrace close collaboration, communication and a collected effort in an open working environment will be essential in order to deliver results efficiently, which is key for many organisations as they aim to experience the full potential of DevOps in 2021. When it comes to software delivery this year, the concept of DevOps will constantly evolve to better fulfill the objective of connecting Dev with Ops, with optimum user experience being front and centre as leading organisations implement human-focused practices and processes. Other focal points that are emerging, such as the significance of ethics in technology, will become more apparent for organisations. With this new, human-centered approach, organisations will witness how the tech industry will be led by the premise that software is created for and by humans.